Police in Kasungu have a arrested an electrical contractor for being found in possession of poles suspected to have been stolen from Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom).
In a statement issued yesterday, Escom said it was dismayed to note that some individuals and organisations continue to unlawfully acquire property belonging to the corporation.
Police have identified the contractor as Julius Kapelemela and said the poles are believed to have been stolen from an Escom site at Liwonde in Machinga.
Escom said the arrest followed a tip-off which its investigators worked on and established that 30 poles that were were being used to construct an electric line at a poultry farm in Kasungu.
Reads the Escom statement in part: “The investigators inspected the site and identified 11 poles which were clearly marked as belonging to Escom and were imported from Zimbabwe.
“Another set of poles were also discovered at the site, but had their marks removed. Escom is still ascertaining the identity of those poles.”
The statement quoted Kapelemela as having told the investigators that he bought the Escom poles from an Escom employee who is on the run.
In a related development, police at Kanengo in Lilongwe are keeping in custody Phillip Joseph Lipulo for impersonating an Escom employee and allegedly attempting to extort money from an Escom customer (name withheld).
The statement said Escom investigators received a tip-off that Lipulo was demanding K60 000 from a customer to install an electric meter at the customer’s house. The customer allegedly gave him K20 000 and promised to pay him the balance within an hour.
The customer then alerted Escom investigators who, according to the statement, rushed to the scene and arrested the suspect.
Reads the statement: “Upon interrogation, Lipulo alleged that he works for an electrical contractors firm and got the materials from an Escom installation in Area 5 within Lilongwe City. His accomplice is still on the run.”
In the statement, Escom said it is worried with the rising cases of theft of its materials.
“The theft of the 30 imported poles deprived other bona fide customers an opportunity to be supplied with electricity, making Escom look incompetent and disorganised in the eyes of applicants for new electricity connections. This also means that Escom was denied an opportunity to make revenue which would have enabled it to serve its customers better,” reads the statement.
Revelations about the poles case come at a time Escom is investigating theft of 4.2 million litres of diesel meant for the running generators that feed about 70 megawatts into the national grid to complement hydro electricity production. n